Rejoicing was the order of the day on March 3, when Christ Church, Mortdale and Church@thepeak celebrated their new identity as one parish at Church@thepeak’s home – Peakhurst South Public School.

“It was a squeeze to fit everyone into the hall, but we did it!” says rector the Rev Stuart Maze. “When we started our partnership in November 2022 we had an all-in service at Mortdale, so we wanted to reciprocate at the celebration service and host everyone at Peakhurst.”

“It was a great morning. I was able to speak from Mark 8 about how, in a world of hyper-individualism, Jesus calls on us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.

“It was wonderful to have Bishop Peter Lin there to encourage us in our new venture together, and we also heard from different congregation members about the things they have appreciated about the amalgamation so far and what they are excited about for our future together. We gave thanks to God for those things and committed our ministry together to him in various prayers. Then we finished up with the world’s biggest (almost!) morning tea.”

Discussion about a merger began in early 2022. Mortdale had been looking for a new rector for more than a year when a conversation began between them, Mr Maze and Bishop Lin about the potential for the parishes to join together.

“The nominators interviewed me to see what they thought about me as a potential rector,” Mr Maze says. “Then they handed the process over to both sets of wardens to consider: do we think this merger is a good thing?”

When the answer was yes, the two parishes decided to test the water in November 2022 with a year-long partnership. If that went well, congregation members would vote on a merger.

“We did a lot of communicating via church email, town hall meetings, some surveys – just continuing to clarify what things would look like going forward,” Mr Maze says. “We tweaked the ministry models during that period to make it work better for both churches... and then we did a final survey of everyone in December, and 97 per cent of people voted in favour of it, which was encouraging. And, as of January 1, we’re one church.

“A lot of people are excited about the possibilities and opportunities of coming together as one church – combining our resources and location and strengths. The phrase we’ve constantly used throughout this is that ‘we’re better together’, and that’s been clear right from the start. We could carry on in independent ministry if we wanted to, but it wouldn’t be as good as we are together.”

Mortdale’s assistant minister, the Rev Alan Wood, adds that the celebration service was “a good opportunity for all of us to be in the same room [and] express that, ‘Yes, as a parish we’re unified, we’re all on the same team, and we want to go forward together from here in our different locations’.” 

It’s not all new in 2024. The parishes’ two youth groups and evening services became one at the outset of the partnership, meeting at Mortdale – which, with a new-ish worship centre, hall and office complex, has the full-time space and resources Church@thepeak lacks.

Uniting these ministries was very welcome for Mortdale, particularly with regard to its evening service, which had been hit hard by COVID. 

“Everyone was on the roster for everything,” Mr Wood says. “The folks who were there were absolutely committed to the service happening, and that was great, but numbers were low and it was hard work. So, to be able to combine with Church@thepeak’s night church was great, because the feel of coming to church in the evening became better immediately just from that change.

“We had been doing combined things with Church@thepeak already – our mission area collaborates to run the Life course, which we host here at Mortdale. So, there was that sense of co-operation already, and it was good to build on those relationships as we did more together.”

The combined parish is yet to decide on a name, but there’s an optimism about their present and future under God.

“I am very excited about what lies ahead for our church,” Mr Maze says. “We have a great team, a wonderful group of servant-hearted and mission-minded leaders, and a church family who want to make and grow disciples of Jesus. But most importantly, we have an awesome God and a life-giving message to take to those in our community! 

“May God use us for his glory in Peakhurst and Mortdale.”


  •  for the ongoing integration of the two churches and their ministries
  • that members would continue to be outward-focused and live out their mission to make and grow disciples of Jesus – and that, by coming together, they would be even more effective in doing this 
  • that God would help them to work together for the cause of the gospel in Mortdale and Peakhurst


Main photo: (back row, from left): the Rev Alan Wood, the Rev Stuart Maze, the Hon David Coleman, Member for Banks; (front row): women’s discipleship pastor Briony Nurcombe, pastoral care co-ordinator Karen Ray, the Rev Dan Tooma, Georges River councillor Ashvini Ambihaipahar, Bishop Peter Lin.